Posted by: coastcontact | May 21, 2015

Cities Grow or Die

Updated May 22, 2015 because of data reported in the Los Angeles Daily News.

Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Baltimore are examples of large cities that are dying.  They all have one common issue. A lack of jobs.  Cities that are thriving are growing and they all have one common reason.  New jobs.  Los Angeles grew in population by 136,243 people since the last census says the U.S. Census Bureau.  That is a growth of just the city and does not include surrounding towns such as Long Beach which have all seen similar or greater population increases.

I live near the very end of the northwest part of Los Angeles. The nearby boulevard ends about 2 miles west of my home. Despite that fact the traffic is busy all of the time. It is obviously crowded during rush hours. Simply put, we have run out of space. The land beyond the end of the city has been set aside as protected land to preserve open space with the idea of establishing a wildlife park to protect both animals and native habitat.

The question is how do we provide housing for the growing population? The answer is more apartments and condominiums. With that conclusion in mind the city has decided to permit that kind of construction. Cities do not remain static. They either grow or shrink. The growth is into the suburbs, more high rise buildings, or a combination. Spread of the Los Angeles area is a fact and is probably known throughout the world. The travel times has become nightmares for some people driving as long as two hours to get to work. Finally the city has become wiser and now has started permitting the dreaded high rise housing. Many in our city are continuing to fight this kind of construction.

Thus we have arrived at a time when many new proposals are being submitted to neighborhood councils and the city council for approval. In my area:

  •  Two part with phase 1 for the construction of a 7-story, 193,000 sqft building to house 170 apartments including 13 live-work units and 5,700 sqft restaurant. There will also be parking for 258 cars and 196 bikes.  The 2nd phase is for the construction of 166,000 sqft commercial office building with 10,000 sqft for restaurant and retail space. There will also be parking for 490 cars and 254 bikes. The office buildings being replaced are modern two story structures.
  •  A 707 unit apartment complex that was the home of Panavision manufacturing consisting of a one story building and parking lot.
  •  A 300 unit apartment complex most likely replacing one or two story office buildings.
  •  A 4,000 multifamily unit development on the former Rocketdyne facility that is expected take 10 years to complete. That project is in the design phase and has not been released for public scrutiny. The information released to date says that the buildings will vary in height from 6 to 18 stories high.
  • The former Catalina Yachts manufacturing site will be converted into 600 units.

That is a total of 5,777 housing units which more than likely means an additional 11,000 people and their cars added to already congested boulevards. To make the additional housing more palatable new nearby shopping centers and business offices will provide jobs.

Westfield Village #3

You don’t like it? Some alternative places to live are Fresno, California and Medford, Oregon. Those are two nice communities that are not faced with large growth but do offer a pleasant climate and many of the benefits of larger cities. 



  1. Medford doesn’t exactly have a lot of jobs- but at least you didn’t recommend portland – seems everyone wanted to move here (portland) and our rental costs have exploded. Even though we have a higher min wage, with the rents raising and raising- unless you make 17 to 20 an hour, you can’t afford a 2 bedroom apt. A friend of mine was so excited that her new job started out at 14 a hour and was sure she could then move out of her mother’s basement. She came over crying when she realized that she couldn’t even afford a tiny studio. How do we provide rentals for those at min wage- when those making 5 dollars a hour more than min wage can’t afford the rent? Good posting by the way

  2. A good reply. The Los Angeles city council is planning to raise the minimum wage here too. It’s a subject I will tackle on another posting.

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